Taylor Swift’s “Red” is about struggling at Penn

The almighty (albeit robotic) Taylor Swift just released her re-recorded version of Red, otherwise known as Jake Gyllenhaal’s death warrant. Taylor calls this work of art her “only true breakup album,” and I completely agree— this album is absolutely about how we all have a toxic relationship with Penn and academia in general. In honor of this momentous occasion, here are lyrics from every song from this album that describe the Penn Experience™. Hurrah for the Red, not the blue.

State of Grace:

Trying to cross near the corner between 34th and Walnut without getting hit by a car

“I’m walking fast through the traffic lights

Busy streets and busy lives”


Doing an impossible quiz that’s worth 10 percent of your grade

“Fighting with him was like

Trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer”


Believing your professor when he says the exam “won’t be that hard if you’ve studied”

“This hope is treacherous

This daydream is dangerous”

I Knew You Were Trouble:

When you take a difficult class despite everyone warning you not to, and now you want death

“Now I’m lyin’ on the cold hard ground”

All too Well:

Asking for a regrade, and then the grade goes down

“Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much”


The constant fear of being unemployed after graduation

“We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time

It’s miserable and magical”

I Almost Do:

Having to pull an all-nighter for your third essay of the week

“I bet this time of night you’re still up

I bet you’re tired from a long hard week”

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together:

Dropping a class because it’s actually terrible

“I just… I mean this is exhausting, you know, like

We are never getting back together.”

Stay Stay Stay:

When your professor gaslights you into thinking the class is actually good, and the only problem is you and your fellow students

“You think that it’s funny when I’m mad, mad, mad”

The Last Time:

Trying to get into an overfilled class

“This is the last time I’m asking you this

Put my name at the top of your list”

Holy Ground:

Procrastinating in Saxbys/United By Blue/Starbucks even though you used “needing a place to focus and study” to justify spending 6 dollars on coffee

“I was reminiscing just the other day

While having coffee all alone”

Sad Beautiful Tragic:

Praying to all the powers that be that your cheat sheet will compensate for your lack of actual studying

“Long handwritten note deep in your pocket

Words, how little they mean when you’re a little too late”

The Lucky One:

Being the only upperclassman in your recitation

“But you’re so confused

‘Cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used

And all the young things line up to take your place”

Everything Has Changed:

Having to do a group project and hoping that your teammates can make up for the fact that you’re absolutely clueless

“I just wanna know, you better know, you better know”


Your professor gives an inspirational speech about how grades don’t matter (right before he practically flunks you)

“Look at you: worrying too much about things you can’t change

You’ll spend your whole life singing the blues if you keep thinking that way.”

Begin Again:

Next semester will be better. Right? Right????

“And for the first time what’s past is past’”

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